Xbox One VS PS4: Phil Spencer On the Possibility of Bringing Early Access to Xbox One, Virtual Reality

By CJ Melendez , Updated Mar 22, 2014 11:55 AM EDT
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Our old pal Microsoft's Phil Spencer is back to talk about some interesting new developments and ideas that the company have planned for the Xbox One. Speaking to Gamasutra's editor-in-chief Kris Graft during a GDC talk (news via Eurogamer), the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Game Studios discussed the possibility of bringing popular in-alpha content to the Xbox One.

Using examples Rust and DayZ, two incredibly popular and financially successful Steam Early Access games, Spencer commented on the value of making games like that accessible to more people, such as on a console.

"I think there's an area of evolution that, as platform holders, we'll go through this generation in helping developers fund their games socially," Spencer said. "You don't really have that in place on console as you do in some other places. I think that in order for great diverse content to exist, it's going to be important that us as platform holders think about how we can allow gamers invest in things that they want to see built, so that developers have the funds to bring those things to market. Paid alphas I look at one of those things."

When the issue of quality for paid alphas came up, which is indeed an issue on Steam - where some Early Access titles are absolutely broken and not worth money, Spencer stated that Xbox would focus on delivering "the best games".

"The platform parity is about making sure that when people buy an Xbox they know that the best independent games that are out there that we're helping bring to our platform are state of the art. But we've heard a tonne of feedback, and we've taken feedback and changed course before. Today, I'd say this is an ongoing conversation with developers," Spencer said.

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Spencer's desire to bring games like DayZ to Xbox One could work very well for the company as long as they give developers freedom to update their games quickly and freely, which Microsoft has been doing this generation with programs like ID@Xbox.

Speaking of DayZ, creator of the game Dean Hall actually mentioned in the past that he knows of some "interesting" developments at Microsoft after having met with them. Perhaps Spencer's comment suggest a definite move to support in-progress games like DayZ. With DayZ already selling over a million copies, why wouldn't Microsoft want to pursue a game like that?

Lastly, Phil Spencer also addressed the hot new buzzword at GDC: VR. "VR is cool tech," he said. "One of the things we have is this huge Microsoft research organisation that is important to us as platform holders in helping us think what might came next. That's where Kinect came from, it's where voice recognition came from, it's where Drivatar came from."

Looking at things like Oculus, Morpheus - they haven't sent me one yet, but maybe they will - when I think about VR and the uses of it in gaming, I think there's a real there there."

Phil Spencer's recent comments come from a position of forward-thinking and adaptability; he's acknowledged in the past that Games for Gold needs work and he's not happy that his company sugar-coated the Xbox One's controversy. His view on broadening the Xbox One to support in-development projects seems like it could pay off and it would be something seen for the first time on consoles ... well, if you don't count the unintentionally unfinished games like Battlefield 4 and whatnot.

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